Can Phthalates program your Baby to be Obese?

Phthalates may cause fat accumulation and program the stem cell to become obese via an epigenetic balance

Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP), a chemical commonly used in the food manufacturing process, can increase fat stores in the body even before we’re born.


Benzyl butyl phthalate induces epigenetic stress to enhance adipogenesis in mesenchymal stem cells, Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, sciencedirect, 2016.04.

Endocrine disruptors, phthalates, may have contributed to recent global obesity health crisis. Our study investigated the potential of benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP) to regulate the mesenchymal stem cell epigenome to drive adipogenesis.

BBP exposure enhanced lipid accumulation and adipogenesis in a dose-dependent manner compared to control (P < 0.001).

Can Plastic Program Your Baby To Be Obese?, vitalrecord, May 17, 2016.

Babies by Aimee Ray.

  • Adipogenesis markers, PPARγ (P < 0.001), C/EBPα (P < 0.01), and aP2 (P < 0.001) were significantly upregulated by increasing concentrations of BBP when compared to DMSO.
  • BBP enhanced H3K9 acetylation while decreasing H3K9 dimethylation. Fifty μM BBP increased histone acetyltransferases, p300 (P < 0.05) and GCN5 (P < 0.01) gene expression.
  • Furthermore, histone deacetylases (HDACs), HDAC3 (P < 0.01) and HDAC10 (P < 0.01, 10 μM BBP; P < 0.001, 50 μM BBP) and histone methyltransferases, SETDB1 (P < 0.01) and G9a (P < 0.01), were significantly downregulated by BBP exposure.
  • BBP acts, in part, through PPARγ, as PPARγ knockdown led to decreased H3K9ac and rescued H3K9me2 during BBP exposure.

In conclusion, BBP regulated MSCs towards adipogenesis by tipping the epigenomic balance.

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